Showing posts from 2014

To Kathy

Last Tuesday we were having a Johnson family conference call when Scott told us that Kathy's health was really going downhill and that he thinks we need to be there soon. We booked flights that night and flew to Utah the next morning. We were picked up from the airport and drove straight to the hospital where Kathy had been for several weeks. We had been getting updates about her from the family ever since she was diagnosed with brain cancer last October, but there was always a disconnect since we live so far away. We were never there to watch the progression of her sickness, and we think the family may have been downplaying how severe her symptoms and complications were. When we came to her hospital room she was in a coma and was having a lot of difficulty breathing. She had contracted pneumonia and had been in a comatose state since Monday. The doctor's had her on the strongest antibiotics they had, but it was going to take 2-5 days for them to kick in. In the mean time she…

While the Cat is Away the Mice will Play

A friend from our Ward has a brother who gets free tickets to the Sabres games. Hockey is as big in New York as football is in Texas. So just like the Dallas Cowboys, although the Sabers aren't a really good team all of Buffalo is fiercely loyal to them and the games are a big deal.

Clayton and I were invited to go to their game last night, but Clayton had to go on a business trip out of town. I brought my friend Maria as my date. Turns out she loves hockey about as much as I do, so I'm glad we had each other to talk to during the boring parts. Don't get me wrong, I like hockey... but only when a fight breaks out or someone scores.

The company was fun though, and it was a true Buffalo experience. Plus I was glad to get out and do something with friends while Clayton is away. I have a plan for every night this week so that I'm not bored.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

We have started putting up Christmas decorations.

We bought a tree that was fairly small in our minds, and then we were surprised by how big it was when we took it home. The only place we could find that it would fit is in the kitchen. Getting the tree this year has been quite the ordeal. Last year we bought our little tree from Home Depot, set it up, decorated, easy lemon squeezey. This year we bought our tree from a similar store and brought it home to find that it didn't fit in our tree stand. It still had a few little branches sprouting from the bottom of the stump. So what did we do? We grabbed Clayton's super old, super dull, samurai sword, took the tree outside, and tried to fix the problem ourselves. Well the sword broke after a couple of swings, which to be honest I was kind of expecting, and we ended up trying to saw off the branches with a pocket knife. After an hour of setting up, we finally got the tree to fit in the stand at a slightly crooked angle. That's …

Cleveland, Ohio

We didn't get to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with family, but we did get to see them this weekend. My family was in Ohio visiting our grandparents, so we decided to meet halfway between Miamisburg and Buffalo in Cleveland.
First stop was the A Christmas Story house. It was super cool to walk on the set, and it put me in the Christmas mood.

People pinned where they came from on a map. There were so many pins on the northeast side of the country that you couldn't even fit another pin in there.

Next we went to the West Side Market. It reminded me of the market places in Romania. We bought a big bag of corn, a bucket of fruit, and several awesome desserts.

Which we promptly ate picnic style.

Clayton and I recently bought a fancy shmancy camera with the intention of documenting our lives in higher quality. I brought it to Cleveland and made Hannah and my mom models. It was fun! I got tons of great shots of Hannah, and selected a few good ones to share on here.

Lastly we went to…

"Unseasonably Warm"

(This is our friend's backyard. Can you see the swing set in the left corner?)
(This was taken at the beginning of our drive)
This fall in Buffalo has been B-E-A-utiful! The weather was clear and crisp most of the time, the colors of the trees was gorgeous, and it was what everyone was calling "unseasonably warm." I thought that this was all a precursor to a mild winter. But then the lake effect happened yesterday, and it's all gone down hill since then. Yesterday the south towns got 3-7 feet of snow! We have friends that live down there who sent us pictures of their car that was so covered in snow that you could only see the top of it. There was a driving ban, the highways were shut down, and every business and school was closed. Unlucky people who were driving that morning were stuck in their cars for hours, and many still are. There are a couple places that haven't been reached yet by emergency vehicles, and the stuck cars have been stuck there, buried under …

Busy Bees

We have been crazy busy lately. I started working at my new job last week, and it has been exhausting. I work for a company located in Niagara Falls called Community Missions. There are a lot of divisions of the company, but our jobs all overlap a little. I am a Case Manager, and it has been a whirlwind learning the ropes. We work with clients who have a mental illness but are trying to gain independence to live in the community. Already I've had some interactions that have blown my mind. 
Aside from work, we have been enjoying the weather. We went on a hike called the "Eternal Flame". It's a permanent methane gas leak that allows there to be a constant flame. It's in the middle of a small, slippery waterfall. The hike was really pretty and fun.

We also hiked the Gorge, down by Niagara Falls. Before the actual falls, there is a long stretch of whirlpools and rapids. They are classified as class 6, and are considered unnavigable. There is a trail that goes along …


One great perk of having the Palmyra temple as our home temple is that there are church history sites nearby. We were able to visit the Hill Cumorah, the Smith farm, and the Sacred Grove after going to the temple. 

The weather was beautiful, I had that handsome man by my side, and visiting the sites for the first time was a special experience for me. I'm so grateful for my eternal marriage, my life in the gospel, and the beautiful legacy of the church. 

Foster the People

Last week we bought tickets to go to the Foster the People concert, and I literally counted down the days. I love them, and now after going to their concert I love them even more.

The beginning was a little slow because we didn't love their opening band, but as soon as the real show started it was amazing. We had so much fun! It was cold and late, but so worth the discomfort. This was Clayton's first "real" concert, and he loved it. They preform really well live, which is something you definitely can't say about every band.

After we got home our ears were ringing, we were freezing, and the smell of being outside and beer was saturated in our hair, and we both agreed that it was a great night.
Just an update on the job search, I've gotten offers and have a couple of options to choose from. It's kind of a tough decision though. The job offer that I really want to take has lousy hours and not great pay, so I'm leaning towards my second option. Hopefully…

Peach Festival

This past weekend was the peach festival in Lewiston. We met up with some friends from the ward who had kids, so the carnival was pretty fun. Carnivals are always more fun when there are little kids with you. They had rides, food stands, the Peach Queen contest, etc.

We got the peach short cake, and Clayton won us a little fishy friend. Knowing from previous experience that goldfish don't live long, at least not under my watch, I held up the Vulcan hand sign and told him to live long and prosper, after which Clayton named him Spock. So welcome to the family, Spock!

After the carnival, we all walked down to the river. I'm pretty positive that the other side was Canada, since the Canadian boarder was the next exit on the freeway. It was so beautiful. For some reason it seems like you can never really capture the beauty of nature in a picture, although this one is pretty dang good if I do say so myself. There was a restaurant on the river that we stopped at for dinner. It was on…

Niagara Falls

This past Thursday there was a concert at Niagara Falls. We had planned to go to the concert, then see the falls, and wait until 10 PM to see some fireworks over the falls. However, when we got there we hated the music. It was a weird alternative style mixed with a little bit of screaming and the occasional digital alien noise.  So instead of staying for the music we walked around the shops, got some ice cream, and saw the falls. 

The falls were beautiful, but since the American side is the side that the water falls off of I can see why everyone says that the Canada side is better. We walked around the park that is around the falls until it started POURING rain. 

Larkin Park

We've been trying to see everything that Buffalo has to offer as far as evening entertainment, and tonight was an open, out-door concert in Larkin Park. The bands were ones that we had never heard of, but we liked their music. It was a kind of a blues/soul vibe.

I didn't get great pictures, but this place was hoppin'. There were so many people there it was hard to walk around without falling over people. The funny thing is I think that about 90% of the audience was over the age of 50. There was a lot of drinking going on, which led to a lot of hilarious dancing. I forgot while living in Utah that the rest of the world drinks so much.

For us hungry or sober people, there was a line up of food trucks.

Apparently "fried dough" is a popular thing here, so we decided to try it out. It was basically a super huge funnel cake. It was good, but I don't think I ever need to try it out again. 

As far as jobs are going, I've had a few great interviews that I'm w…

National Wing Festival

This weekend was the National Buffalo Wing Festival, and of course we went to it. It was held in the middle of the downtown at a baseball stadium. According to the announcer, people had traveled from almost every state and over 30 countries to come to the festival. It was huge. 

One of the main events was the food eating contest. All the contestants had to eat a 5 pound sandwich. The winner finish his in under 4 minutes. It was coolish, but mostly just gross. I'm pretty sure most of them found a way to unhinge their jaws and just shove food down their throats with very little chewing. To be honest, I couldn't watch the whole time. 

There were many other events and shows going on, but we went there mainly for the wings. There were tons of tens along the edges of the stadium all selling different wings. We tried about 20ish wings total, including the Arizona ranch sauce wing, the french toast wing, the garlic parmesan wing, some super spicy one, and many more. 

And here is a ra…